Sunday, April 14, 2024

Raila rejects Uhuru’s ‘tea’, Ruto fights back

Cord leader Raila Odinga has ruled out meeting President Uhuru Kenyatta for a friendly chat at State House.

Thursday, Mr Odinga said he would mobilise Kenyans on Saba Saba Day, the day historically associated with the pro-democracy movement in Kenya when opposition leaders would hold rallies on July 7 to put pressure on the Kanu government to allow multi-party politics.

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“Let me inform them that Saba Saba is coming. There is no stopping it if the government will not have talked to us. All Kenyans will meet and discuss the ills that are bedevilling this country and I promise you that God will hear us on that day,” Mr Odinga told a rally in Eastleigh.

But in Mathira, Nyeri County, Deputy President William Ruto ruled out any engagement with the opposition.

“We will not waste our time in empty politicking but we want to deliver on the promises we made to Kenyans,” he said during the burial of Mzee Nahashon Gachagua Reriani, the father of Nyeri Governor Nderitu Gachagua.

Mr Ruto said that although the Opposition had a role to play, it should let the government run its affairs. Jubilee, he said, had put in place adequate measures to deal with the issues raised by Cord.

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“We want to move together. Elections are over. Others won and  those who lost should wait for the next polls. Those who were elected should perform their duties without discrimination,” he said and told Cord leaders that there was nothing wrong in being in the Opposition.

“Leaders should work in building a united nation and not a country tainted by issues of tribal, religious or political affiliations,” he said.

In Nairobi, Mr Odinga warned the Jubilee Government to brace for Saba Saba if the President will not have called for the national dialogue to seek solutions to problems facing the country.


“My brother Uhuru agreed to a national dialogue during Madaraka Day celebrations only to turn around after meeting Jubilee officials and instead invited me and Kalonzo Musyoka for a cup of tea at State House,” Mr Odinga said.

“It is an insult to say that if Raila and Kalonzo want to talk they should come to State House for a cup of tea. Do we look like people who can be enticed with a cup of tea? The era when leaders would be invited to State House for some goodies are long gone.”

Mr Odinga said it was wrong for the President to be prevailed upon by Jubilee leaders to reject such an important forum that had sought to find solutions to the problems affecting the country.

“The President should see the way the wind is blowing,” Mr Odinga said without elaborating.

Raila said issues such as the status of devolution and the position of the IEBC have to be addressed alongside security and corruption.

Bomet Governor Isaac Ruto, who also addressed the gathering in Mathira, dismissed those calling for mass action and said that such activities would interfere with peace in the country.

The governor said county and national governments should work together on matters of development and for the success of devolution.

“Some of the people who contested national positions should be given fall-back positions so that they also contribute in the running of the nation. I honestly miss contributions of leaders like Martha Karua,” he said.

His Kakamega counterpart Wycliffe Oparanya urged the Jubilee administration to consider holding talks with the opposition and find ways of solving the problems facing the country.

“The government should accommodate the Opposition and listen to their grievances and engage in national dialogue,” said Mr Oparanya of Cord.

Nyeri Senator Mutahi Kagwe maintained that parliamentary committees would be the best place for the proposed dialogue because the composition was from the Government and Opposition.

“Every week, senators and MPs from the Government and Opposition meet at the floor of the House. We are not going to engage in any other meeting other than that provided for by the structures,” he said.

On Tuesday, MPs allied to the Jubilee Coalition ruled out any national dialogue conference and asked their Cord counterparts to go through established institutions like Parliament to address challenges facing the nation.

 Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga with Suna East Mp Junet Mohamed on June 05, 2014 during meet the people tour at Eastleigh Nairobi. PHOTO | WILLIAM OERI

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